What would you do if you received this notice in the mail? Evelyn Anderson is a 70 year old wife of a veteran. She moved into her rowhouse on Ravenwood Avenue in 1975, and has called it home ever since. But when her water bills began rising into the thousands and became too high to pay, her home of over 40 years was in danger of being lost to tax sale.
Evelyn came to St. Ambrose hoping for some way to save her home. The legal team was able to work with the Department of Public Works to secure assistance, and raise awareness of her plight. Ultimately, St. Ambrose lawyers were able to save Evelyn nearly $3,000 and more importantly, her home. This story struck a chord with readers and through their generosity, she was able to pay the bill and save her home.
The St. Ambrose legal team receives many calls from frightened homeowners like Evelyn who are unsure how they will manage such large water bills. These billing issues impact everyone including organizations. But for low-income families or seniors on fixed incomes, who rely on careful budgeting to ensure they can afford basic necessities, a large, unexpected bill can strike panic. If they are unable to pay the bills, their house could go to tax sale. St. Ambrose attorneys can help protect families from this kind of catastrophe with free or low-cost legal advice and representation.
Seeing the dire need for reform, St. Ambrose has joined the advocacy effort, working on task forces and partnering with organizations like the Food and Water Watch and Water for All Baltimore Coalition. The system shouldn’t be so complicated and muddled that people feel they need legal representation just to talk about a water bill. “Citizens shouldn’t need a lawyer to dispute bills. The process should be clear enough for everyone to understand,” Charlotte Clarke, St. Ambrose attorney states. She wrote a great piece that explains in further detail the need to reform the billing system. You can read it read it here.
To read more about Evelyn’s story and St. Ambrose’s push for reform, check out the Baltimore Sun Article.